FINA World Championships, Open Water: The Netherlands Pulls Swimmers Due to Heat Concerns; Chastise FINA for Not Canceling 25Ks

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SHANGHAI, China, July 21. ACCORDING to several media reports, The Netherlands has pulled both of its open water swimmers from the 25K events at the FINA World Championships, including defending champion Linsy Heister.

The team's head coach Marcel Wouda stated it was a medical decision, and that he would not consider it justified for a swimmer to compete for more than six hours at a temperature about 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). He also pulled Tom Vangeneugden from the men's 25K.

"It's dangerous," Wouda said. "You will find limits, that as a coach I do not support. We want our athletes to safely swim races. There is always a rick, but you can estimate in advance."

He went on to chastise FINA for even holding the 25K races, which have had their start times moved up in an attempt to avoid heat.

"You'd think FINA would have learned an important lesson [with Fran Crippen's death}," Wouda said. "I, as a coach, am of the opinion that the swims should be canceled. This is irresponsible, and I hope other coaches will [follow suit]."

FINA's new rules states that the maximum water temperature allowed before canceling a race is 31 degrees Celsius.

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